Life After Easter
As faithful Catholics, Holy Week is the best week of the year! We are so intensely into prayer and uniting ourselves with the passion, death, and resurrection. Typically, it would be the week we were at church almost every day. Although this year we were not physically in the churches, we still visited them outside from our cars, watched the live streams, prayed our Chaplets and watched our movies. It was wonderful and prayerful!
Now what? After the amazing Resurrection of our Lord (Truly, the tomb is empty!) what do we do? Do we just go back to eating meat and sweets and indulging in those things we have just spent the last 50 days fasting from? What will you do?
How are you evangelizing? Are you being Christ to those around you?
Think of your friends and family who did not attend Mass on Easter. Those who typically only attend twice a year for Christmas and Easter. Did they even notice? Were they potentially even relieved to not have to go through the chaos in the parking lot and in the crowded church? Do they understand what they missed out on? I saw a friend post on Facebook, “Am I the only one who forgot today was Easter.” This is someone who I have seen make posts about attending church. I was so sad for her!
The phrase “You may be the only Jesus that people meet,” rings so much truer in these days than ever before.
You may be getting all the texts and forwards about live-streamed Masses and prayers, but how about the outliers? How about the rest? Are they aware of the comfort that comes with knowing Jesus and having a relationship with him? What are you doing about it?
One More Month
We all heard the news from the governor about an extension to the end of this month. What does that mean for us as Christians? To sample from Fr. Cantalamessa’s Good Friday Homily, “The one who looks on Him with faith does not die, and if he does die, it will be to enter eternal life. “After three days I will rise,” Jesus foretold. We too, after these days that we hope will be short, shall rise and shall come out of the tombs of our homes not however to return to the former life like Lazarus but to a new life like Jesus: a more fraternal life, more human, more Christian.” Just like as Easter comes we should not just go back to the bad habits and life of indulgence we lived before fasting for Lent, after this time of being home let us challenge ourselves to not just go back to our life as it was. If we do not let this time change us, for the better, then it is time wasted.
A good friend recently gave me a piece of wisdom. He said this: I wish I could go into the future one year and ask my future self what one thing I wish I had accomplished during the quarantine. That way I could make sure to make the most of this time. Let’s not overwhelm ourselves by making unreachable goals, but also be aware of falling into laziness and idleness.
Journey to Pentecost
If you aren’t handling the current pandemic very well and find yourself in a state of worry and anxiety, consider this. The apostles were afraid until the Holy Spirit came. They remained in the upper room with the door locked. Pentecost is when the Holy Spirit comes upon the disciples in Acts 2. Take some time to read this story and unite yourself to what they were feeling in those days of uncertainty.
Challenge yourself to go further. Try reading more. If you don’t read much already, start with an easy book. If you’re already a reader add in daily scripture. During this time of anticipation of Pentecost, read the book of Acts (the first book after the 4 Gospels.) In Acts, you will see how the apostles struggled when establishing the first church. Take that journey with them.
I also want to encourage you to pick up some spiritual reading. I have found so much inspiration and peace in the writings of older saints and modern day Catholic authors that have made such profound points and encouraged me to trust in God during this great time of unknown. When re-reading my underlined passages in “Into Your Hands, Father” by Wilfrid Stinissen, he referred to an excerpt from “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by De Caussade.
De Caussade distinguishes between three types of duty: (1) What we must do because of the commands of God and the Church. (2) What God’s Providence allows to happen and which we must accept. (3) All that the Holy Spirit inspires us to do. The last category should eventually fill our whole life.
How providential is this for the current times? Especially number 2! To find that we must accept what’s going on. Stay tuned for a more thorough suggested reading list, but in the meantime I pray that you find peace in this time. See the diagram below and pray each morning about which area you are in. Pray to be in the Growth Zone and to spread God’s love and peace in all that you say and do.
Patrice Abona is the Executive Director of ECRC.